A large Florida hazmat team put their equipment and personnel through ultra-realistic training and made a high-quality video to share with other teams
When Polk County (Fla.) Fire Rescue’s hazmat team wanted to conduct a high-impact training event for a common, but volatile hazard, it turned to HazSim to provide enhanced realism. The team went a step further and made a forthcoming instructional video of the training for other hazmat teams.
The hazmat team used an off-site training facility to drill on all aspects of a chlorine leak — from incident command to initial entry to decon. The day-long event pushed team members through a full-dress incident with changing dynamics.
“This level of hands-on, well-planned training is the only way to give hazmat responders the confidence and competence to effectively neutralize bad situations,” said HazSim founder Phil Ambrose. “Polk County did a great job of keeping the situation true to life for every role. This training video will be immensely helpful to other teams looking for a template on how to make this kind of training realistic.”
HazSim provided its handheld training meters that can be programmed to display and function like a fire department’s gas-detection meters. The trainer controls in real time what the firefighter sees on the HazSim device, so the readings change as they do on a real scene with a real meter.
“Telling firefighters to pretend the meter is reading this or that during an evolution doesn’t cut it,” Ambrose said. “They need to see the readings change and be forced to figure out what to do next. Likewise, incident command needs to get those reports and make real-time decisions. That’s how we get better at hazmat mitigation.”
Polk County’s hazmat team boasts 60 members and covers more than 2,000 square miles with a population of about 725,000. The team was formed in 1973 and trains monthly. Safety Solutions and Supply hosted the training event. And Hazmat Resources shot the video, which it will also use for an upcoming episode of its Hazmat Roadshow TV.